English airports to benefit from new £100m covid support package
Commercial airports across England and ground handlers serving them will benefit from up to £8 million each under a new government finance package. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said the £100 million package will from next year provide support for 24 airports which have been hit by travel restrictions placed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. It will be used to address fixed costs and be the equivalent to the business rates liabilities of each airport in 2020/21, capped at £8 million per site and subject to certain conditions. Mr Sunak said: “This new package of support for airports, alongside a new testing regime for international arrivals, will help the sector take off once again as we build back better from the pandemic.” The airports to benefit from the package are: Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Carlisle, Doncaster Sheffield, East Midlands, Exeter, Gatwick, Heathrow, Humberside, Isles Of Scilly, Lands End, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool John Lennon, London City, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle, Newquay, Norwich, Southampton, Southend, Stansted, Teesside International Airport.
English airports to benefit from new £100m Covid support package
More than 20 airports will be eligible for up to £8m in funding each to be used for fixed costs and to support ground handling crews
By Tamlyn Jones, Business Reporter (Birmingham Post)
24 NOV 2020
Commercial airports across England and ground handlers serving them will benefit from up to £8million each under a new government finance package.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said the £100million package will from next year provide support for 24 airports which have been hit by travel restrictions placed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
It will be used to address fixed costs and be the equivalent to the business rates liabilities of each airport in 2020/21, capped at £8million per site and subject to certain conditions.
It comes as a new Covid-19 testing regime is being introduced for passengers returning to English airports which could see them avoid having to quarantine for the full 14-day obligatory period.
Mr Sunak said: “The aviation industry is vital to our economy – creating jobs and driving growth – which is why we have supported them throughout this crisis through the Job Retention Scheme, loans and tax deferrals.
“This new package of support for airports, alongside a new testing regime for international arrivals, will help the sector take off once again as we build back better from the pandemic.”
The airports to benefit from the package are:
Isles Of Scilly
Liverpool John Lennon
Teesside International Airport
Separately, the Government has said today that travellers arriving in England will be able to end their quarantine period with a negative coronavirus test after five days.
The so-called ‘Test to Release’ scheme will commence on December 15 and affect passengers arriving into England from a designated list of countries.
The travel industry welcomed the policy but described it as “long overdue”.
Under the new rules, passengers who arrive from a destination not on the Government’s travel corridors list will still need to enter self-isolation.
But they can reduce the 14-day period by paying for a test from a private firm on or after day five at a cost of around £65 upwards and should expect to receive the results within 48 hours.
This change does not apply to people arriving in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales who must continue to self-isolate for 14 days.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We have a plan in place to ensure that our route out of this pandemic is careful and balanced, allowing us to focus on what we can now do to bolster international travel while keeping the public safe.
“Our new testing strategy will allow us to travel more freely, see loved ones and drive international business.”
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK which represents UK-registered carriers, said the announcement on limited quarantine provided “light at the end of the tunnel” for the industry and people wanting to go on holiday.
He predicted that demand for air travel would “tentatively return” following the decision but said a pre-departure or domestic testing regime that could completely remove the need to self-isolate was “the only way we’re going to comprehensively reopen the market”.
Chancellor’s business rates subsidy of £8 million covers just 7% of Heathrow’s £120m bill
Heathrow is angry that it is having to pay most of its business rates, while supermarkets and many other businesses are given a 100% waiver. The government has given airports a subsidy of up to £8 million each this year, to pay their business rates. That is enough to cover the whole amount, for small airports. But Heathrow says it only covers 7% of their rates bill, of almost £120 million, part of which it pays to Hillingdon Borough Council. Heathrow is struggling with a drop of around 82% in its passenger number. It is having to furlough its entire senior management team except its chief executive, to cut costs. Gatwick is probably due to pay £29m in business rates this year, while Manchester and Stansted face bills of £14m and £12m respectively, so the £8 million will not cover their rates bills either. Supermarkets have been given around £1.9 billion in rates help, because initially it was feared there could be problems with food supply. In fact supermarkets have done very well out of Covid, with less food eaten out of the home. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “… we have supported them throughout this crisis through the job retention scheme, loans and tax deferrals.”
Several airports have already had funding, to help them through the Covid pandemic, from their local council. Examples are Exeter, Luton, Newquay and Manchester.
Apparently Liverpool City Region has refused to disclose the terms of its £34m airport loan.